Bomber Bites With Jumping Joe–Yankees Made Right Call With Kuroda


The Yankees made a qualifying offer to first year closer David Robertson on Monday but failed to do so for Hiroki Kuroda.  They made the offer to Kuroda last season, which was rejected by Kuroda before the two sides agreed to a one year deal.  The 39 year old Japanese import was the most consistent starter for the Bombers in 2014 going 11-9 with a 3.71 ERA and 146 strikeouts.  He was also the only starter that began the season in the rotation to avoid a trip to the DL and led the team in innings pitched with 199. 

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However, when all is said and done, the fact remains that Kuroda will be 40 before next season and while consistent, he has not been overwhelmingly good the last few seasons.  He has shown signs of his age and is reportedly mulling retirement.

Many believe that it makes sense to offer a player a qualifying offer, even if the team doesn’t really plan on re-signing that player.  All 22 of the qualifying offers given out since the new CBA have been rejected allowing their former team to recover a draft pick from the team that signs them.  So what is the harm in offering a qualifying offer to Kuroda believing he will reject it?

Mandatory Credit: Chad R. MacDonald.

The harm lies in the fact he would be likely to accept the offer for $15.3 million.  Kuroda has stated many times that he is only interested in playing for the Yankees and Dodgers in the US.  This severely restricts his options and it is unlikely the Dodgers, or any other team, would sacrifice a first round draft pick for a 40 year old pitcher.  So Kuroda would likely be the first player to accept the qualifying offer.

The Bombers would then be on the hook for $15.3 million for Kuroda who is at best a number three starter at this point in his career as he enters his age 40 season.  He is a consistent number three but a number three nonetheless.  The Yankees can still resign Kuroda and if his price tag drops to something around $10 million for next season, he becomes an interesting piece to the 2015 puzzle.

Otherwise the Yankees would be better served by giving some of that money that was saved to adding a big time bat like Hanley Ramirez or top flight starter like Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, or James Shields.  The 199 innings would also be better served with Scherzer, Lester or Shields on the mound as well, but don’t count out the young Yankee pitchers that might make a play for those innings as well.  Shane Greene and Chase Whitley showed they belong in the majors last season and Manny Banuelos or Luis Severino may not be far behind.  In any case, the Yankees made the right call by not tendering Kuroda the offer.